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Nimble's Innovations in Sustainability

Date:
Feb 1, 2024

Consumers are increasingly focused on sustainable purchasing, with ~60% of customers stating hesitancy to buy from an organization they do not see as sustainable.1 At the same time, over 80% of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions for most consumer sector organizations are in supply chains.2 This makes it crucial to work with a 3PL that is leading the industry in sustainability.

Nimble’s fulfillment solution reduces GHG emissions in 3 key sectors: transportation, warehouse operations and packaging materials.

These sectors are critical because:

  • The UN Environment Programme calculates that 37% of global energy and process-related emissions are from building operations and the materials used in the construction of buildings.3
  • Transportation of goods in last mile delivery is currently a leading contributor to local air pollution and GHG emissions. This impact is only expected to grow as demand for last-mile services is expected to increase ~12% annually through 2025.4

We are able to reduce GHG emissions in these key sectors, alongside other emissions savings/offsets through the following:

Dense Storage

Nimble’s fulfillment centers (FCs) require 63-80% less square footage than a manual operation, reducing the need for high GHG emission processes like construction, development of construction materials and building operations.

Robotic Solutions

Our FCs require 88% less human labor than a manual operation, allowing us to operate with reduced high-emission ergonomic building requirements (e.g. heating, cooling, lighting).

Fulfillment Network

We can achieve up to a ~55% mile reduction from fulfillment center to customer by utilizing our existing fulfillment network with multiple nodes and optimized location-based inventory storage, which reduces transportation distance from the warehouse to the consumer—a traditionally GHG emission heavy sector.

Customer Participation

We encourage customers to further participate in their sustainability journey by offering financial incentives for SIOC (Ships in Own Container) deliveries, to reduce packaging waste. We also work with partners that offer sustainable and recyclable paper based packaging options in place of traditional plastic based polybags and bubble mailers.

Data-centric Approach

Nimble utilizes a data-centric approach to identify opportunities for sustainable operations, like optimizing package selections for each order to reduce packaging waste and to always use the smallest size boxes to ship less air and require fewer trucks during delivery. Additionally, we are developing the data infrastructure needed to measure emissions impact throughout the fulfillment process.

Future R&D

Nimble is committed to identifying additional ways to operate more sustainably and to reduce our emissions impact. Some of our current R&D efforts include integrating the best carton wrap technology to minimize package size—these solutions can reduce void space by ~60%, box size by ~40%, void filler materials and lead to a reduction of 25 tons of CO2 globally per 1 million square feet of corrugated cardboard.5

Citations:

1. Capgemini. (2020). How sustainability is fundamentally changing consumer preferences. https://www.capgemini.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/20-06_9880_Sustainability-in-CPR_Final_Web-1.pdf

2. McKinsey & Company. (2016, November 11). Starting at the source: Sustainability in supply chains. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/starting-at-the-source-sustainability-in-supply-chains

3. United Nations Environment Programme. (2022). Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. https://www.unep.org/resources/publication/2022-global-status-report-buildings-and-construction

4. Environmental Defense Fund. (2021). Accelerating Zero Emissions Delivery: An innovative approach to transforming the last mile. https://business.edf.org/files/EDF023_Zero-Emissions_v3.pdf

5. Packsize. (2023). Sustainable Packaging. https://www.packsize.com/sustainability/

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